Is It Time To Defund The National Endowment For The Arts?! Obama 2012 - Art Part II - Action Required!
by Sonja Harris on February 4, 2011 at 12:28 PM
“As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it.” - Dick Cavett
You may be wondering why I am taking the time to write this article. Knowing that there are so many critical issues in our world today, I thought it would be a good time to reintroduce you to the Art process. You might ask why I would do this at this time. Obama wants to be reelected in 2012 and he will use every method to accomplish his goal. During his presidential campaign to win the WH he used his Logo, created by a graphic artist, which was extremely popular and unlike the other campaign logos and signs, his had meaning. In his logo, the O represents Obama and the white space represents the sun, the sunrise. The blue O and the red stripes represent our flag. Many times Art does have a meaning such as a historical significance, environmental or in this case political propaganda. Obama’s forever famous ‘HOPE’ portrait by Shepard Fairey was used all during his campaign and exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery on Inauguration Day in 2009. People lined the halls to view it and photograph it. Obama’s face was everywhere. This portrait played a central role in his winning the presidency. Art promoted Obama. Don’t think for a moment it won’t happen again. Please take time to listen to Wendy Reaves as she explains the Obama portrait. She gushes over Fairey’s image of Obama. The artist deliberately selected colors, size and words on the portrait to draw attention to the ‘greatness’ of Obama. Words used on the image are: beautiful, fresh vision, no mess, stay up, purity, best, player, and a few negative words. Reaves confirms how young people “bought into this image.” How long did she spend on describing or swooning over GW Bush’s portrait and artist?
AP sued Fairey because he used a copyrighted photograph without permission of Obama taken by an AP photographer. The suit was recently settled on January 14, 2011. Details were not disclosed but Fairey has agreed to work with the AP photographers in the future. It is not uncommon for photographers and graphic artists to collaborate in Art projects.
As you can see the poster portrait is larger than I am. Standing in front of the more than life size portrait I realized just how politically powerful it is. Liberals often claim that conservatives do not understand Art. At times I am inclined to believe this one statement. If conservatives understood Art then they would know how critically important Art is in our culture and society. The best way to combat the Liberals from dominating the Arts is by participation in attending, supporting and buying Art. How can we know what is being exhibited in museums if we don’t attend the different shows. Without attending exhibits how will conservatives ever understand the nature of the work presented to the public? So many times, I have seen conservatives buy Art from a Liberal artist or a Liberal gallery without giving any thought to the artist and what he represents or what the money will be used for. Art fund raisers are often held by Liberal artists to support their favorite causes.
Who supports the Arts? The Liberals do! They contribute to the galleries and museums and are active patrons of the Arts. Then there is the federally funded National Endowment of the Arts. The NEA has requested $161,315 million for the 2011 budget. Our economic situation does not warrant any taxpayer money to be allotted for the exhibition or the promotion of the Virgin Mary being debased and lewd images of Christ. It is time that this federal entity adopts strict guidelines to their budget and exhibitions. Awarding galleries or museums that promote political agendas should be defunded from the program altogether. Christian bigotry and the nature of some of the exhibits should be sufficient to eliminate their showing. Can you hear the Liberals screaming when they read that last sentence? Freedom of Expression they scream. You don’t see any gallery or museum exhibiting Muhammad in a lewd or inappropriate manner. If the Liberal artists want to exhibit their ‘art’, then let them show their work in private galleries without taxpayer money.
The National Endowment of the Arts Health Care scandal came to light when in a conference call made by Yosi Sergant Communications Director on August 10, 2009, told the listeners "I would encourage you to pick something, whether it’s health care, education, the environment, you know, there’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service. My ask would be to apply artistic, you know, your artistic creative communities utilities and bring them to the table.” One of the artists Patrick Courrielche raised the question as to the appropriateness of the intent of the call. Needless to say this put the White House as the instigator of the controversy. Obama’s Health Care bill would benefit from this exchange promoting his political propaganda. The following art pieces are examples of the propaganda that emerged after the phone call with the artists. Yosi Sergant has since resigned from his position.
“HEALTH CARE DESIGN CONTEST”
If conservatives believe that this only happens at the White House level than we can all understand the reason Liberal art has flourished. Conservatives must take a hard look at what is being displayed at their local community galleries and museums in order to combat this toxic addiction to Liberal art. Conservatives have contributed to the decline of the arts by not being aware of abuses in the NEA grants. One of the 2010 NEA grants in the amount of $45,000 went to Auburn University in the Arts and Humanities department. The money will support the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project for visual arts workshops for inmates. What exactly is this all about? The San Antonio Esperanza Peace and Justice Center received $20,000 to promote their vicious political propaganda. The EPJC’s main thrust is promoting bigotry. Art takes a second seat to its political agenda.
This is not about being anti Art; this is about the conservatives realizing that Art is part of our culture and that they must take an active part in reestablishing their role in the Art process. The NEA has a responsibility to the public to use the money entrusted to them by promoting works by artists that represent a wider spectrum. A true diversity of Art would be inclusive of all Americans. If the NEA truly believes that they want the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence and to engage the public with diverse and excellent art then it is time that they stop subjecting the public with artists’ perverted images. Where is the excellence in debasing America’s number one religion, Christianity? NEA Chairman, Rocco Landesman in his article, ‘It is time to Prune the Arts’ refers to a 2008 survey that showed a 5 percent decrease of arts audiences and an increase of 23 percent in non profit arts organizations. If the NEA would like the public to grow in knowledge and understanding of the Arts, then it is time to stop enraging the public and present them with a more stimulating presentation of the Arts other than their ‘potty’ images. Conservatives must stake claim to the Art field again and stop ignoring what surrounds them.
As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it. - Dick Cavett
Realizing that we have so many issues facing us in America like our economy, jobs, illegal immigration, and the radicalism of America, we forget that our priorities at times have been astray for some time now. Being in the art field, I find it curious why the conservatives take such little regard for the arts. Many of you may say O but I have art in my home…to you I say that is great. But do you really understand how the liberals use the arts to help themselves? I have been attending exhibits for the last 30 years or more and find that the photography exhibits are getting coarser and coarser. What I have personally found is that the liberals take charge of the art exhibit. It is also the liberals who contribute to the arts again because art can be used to promote the liberal agenda.
It is time the National Endowment of Arts is reigned in or defunded! February 2009
THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
ART WORKS FOR AMERICA Strategic Plan, FY 2012-2016
Mission To advance artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.
- The creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence.
- To engage the public with diverse and excellent art.
- To promote public knowledge and understanding about the contributions of the arts.
- To enable the NEA mission through organizational excellence.
The NEA Foundation, through the unique strength of its partnership with educators, advances student achievement by investing in public education that will prepare each of America's children to learn and thrive in a rapidly changing world VALUES
Equal Opportunity. We believe public education is the gateway to opportunity. All students have the human and civil right to a quality public education that develops their potential, independence, and character.
A Just Society. We believe public education is vital to building respect for the worth, dignity, and equality of every individual in our diverse society
At the NEA Foundation, we support new ideas and practices to strengthen teaching and learning. Our goal is to fund and share successful strategies to educate and prepare children for bright and rewarding futures.
We have learned that the best teaching methods come from our greatest assets, educators. That is why, since 1999, we have awarded more than 2,000 individual grants totaling over $6 million to help public school teachers and other educational professionals improve student achievement.
For Fiscal Year 2011
View page 14
President Kennedy, and the Congressional leaders who established the National Endowment for the Arts, recognized the importance of the arts and culture to our society.
Some two years later, in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts was established, its purposes reflective of the goals and ambitions of the former President:
EMAIL FROM YOSI SERGANT TO ARTISTS
Audio of call
The Rest of the Story
September 21, 2009
Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama's call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were "health care" and "energy and environment." The service was to be attached to the President's United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans. ...
We were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to these "focus areas" as we had brought to Obama's presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues. Throughout the conversation, we were reminded of our ability as artists and art professionals to "shape the lives" of those around us. The now famous Obama "Hope" poster, created by artist Shepard Fairey and promoted by many of those on the phone call, and will.i.am's "Yes We Can" song and music video were presented as shining examples of our group's clear role in the election.
Letter to Obama from Senator John Cornyn On the Conference Call
NEA GRANTS TO TEXAS
It's Time to Prune the Arts, Says Embattled NEA Head Rocco Landesman
Landesman explains that it was a 2008 survey of "Public Participation in the Arts," conducted by the NEA — reporting a five-percent decrease in arts audiences in America, accompanied by a 23 percent increase in nonprofit arts organizations — that first led him to question whether it was possible to balance the equation of arts organizations and their audiences. Attempting to clear up confusion concerning another statement he made — that his agency was seeking to give bigger grants to fewer organizations so that they might only fund large, established institutions — the NEA chairman says, "We should never talk about survival of the largest; we are here to ensure the survival of the most creative and most dynamic."
SPENDING REDUCTION ACT OF 2011
REPUBLICAN SPENDING CUT PROPOSALS
Defunding NEA is on first page
What's Troubling About the Smithsonian's "Hide/Seek" Show
WASHINGTON, D.C.— "There's been an entire history hiding in plain sight," National Portrait Gallery historian David C. Ward told ABC News earlier this week. "Telling the history of art without the history of gay people is like telling the history of slavery without mentioning black people." Well, no. Ward was speaking of "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," an exhibition that he co-curated with National Portrait Gallery curator Jonathan Katz at museum, which explores how gender and sexual identity have influenced modern American art. But being gay is not a prerequisite for being an artist — no matter what some more conservative fringes of the United States may think about the convention-flouting art world — while being black was a requirement for being a slave. Also: at this point, exactly how hidden is the supposedly clandestine history of gays in art?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER
Office of the Speaker
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Phone: (202) 225-0600
Fax: (202) 225-5117
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL
Phone: (202) 224-2541
FAX: (202) 224-2499
MEMBERS OF THE US HOUSE
MEMBERS OF THE US SENATE
Congressman Hal Rogers Republican Appropriations Committee Chair http://halrogers.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm
Senator Dan Inouye Democrat
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair